Tag Archives: Bastard child

Using “Nonmarital Child” Instead of “Illegitimate Child”

Estate litigation cases often feature children born outside of wedlock. In those instances, estate litigators face a choice as to what terminology they should use to characterize such children. Selecting the appropriate phrase is not just important for purposes of pleadings and motions (to be read by a judge), but also for purposes of trying a case in front of a jury. Throughout American history, society has used three main terms to refer to such persons: “bastard children”, “illegitimate children”, and “nonmarital children”. The phrase “illegitimate child” is quickly (and thankfully) falling out of acceptance. There are many reasons why …

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